Open Mike12/09/2001 07:00:00 PM Eastern
Editor: Clearly, our country is in a grave danger. Smallpox and other highly contagious diseases can be resurrected and spread by enemies who are willing to give their lives to destroy America and the rest of civilization unwilling to accept their creed. There is a plan—the Emergency Warning National Security (EWNS) plan—that can frustrate such attacks, but it takes mass enrollment by the public for this plan to work.
That is where all broadcasters, AM/FM/TV/cable and satellite, come in. They must sell the plan to Americans all over the nation, everywhere an attack may be launched. Only broadcasters have the facilities to reach all Americans wherever they live and work, and only broadcasters have the personnel with persuasive skills and diversity of political viewpoints to convince all Americans to enthusiastically support the plan.
The EWNS plan was first submitted to the White House for evaluation in mid October, just about a month after the vicious attack on our nation. The plan would enlist Americans to help detect where and when they may have been first exposed to a bioterrorist attack. Such a procedure is clearly superior to that of recently announced programs that propose gathering data from victims after they suffered from severe symptoms and finally seek medical assistance when it may be too late to save them and when it is certainly too late to avoid exposing others.
The EWNS plan would enlist the American public to devote a few hours, only one day per year, to visit a Health Monitoring Center to provide a blood sample, nasal swab, saliva test and whatever other easily performed tests are required.
By enlisting all able-bodied citizens to participate in the EWNS program, health officials are assured of an enormous sample of people (approximately 500,000 per day) all over the country, providing a continuous early-warning alert of attacks, as well as natural outbreaks of serious diseases. (These figures assume that only 65% of the total population enlists in the program. Even this minimal effort would provide data from 870 Americans residing in the state with the smallest population, Wyoming, every day of the year.) Social Security numbers can be used to assign the week of a citizen's service.
The Health Monitoring Centers would be open seven days a week, during convenient hours, and would be located at schools, firehouses, hospitals, etc. It is obvious that, by arranging for tests to be performed every day all over America by a huge number of individuals, potential outbreaks of disease will be quickly pinpointed, permitting extremely rapid response to such dangers.
—Leonard R. Kahn, president, Kahn Communications Inc., New York
Editor: I just read through (for the first time) "Where Things Stand" on your Web site [www.broadcastingcable.com] and wanted to let you know that it is terrific. It's like a bible of what's happening. You are providing a real service. Keep it coming.
—John D. Abel, Washington, D.C.